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A letter from a MASTER MARINER
I am a master mariner who quit sailing after 18 years of command and now a retired life.
Life at sea is tough these days, not only because of perils that normally are at sea but also because of shore staff who just mess around to gain some points or bonus ... Such one's are mostly those who left sea prior completing 10 years (gross) of command or 10 years sailing as a CE. These are the ones who mostly are the problem makers for sailors as per my experiences... Those who have sailed beyond 10 years in command or as ce, are the better ones that I could rely on for advice in need.
But just follow the following as a captain and chief engineer ... I write this basis my experiences at sea and hope it helps my fellow sailors (captain and chief engineers and all others) ....
01 ... Irrespective of commercial or operational pressures, crew always first.
02 ... Navigation is an art, do it slowly.
03 ... Ce runs the ship, Capt is the silent witness (I mean Atman) ... If you follow this, then no deck engine problems ever.
04 ... There cannot be two captains on board ... ship will get totally messed up if this is not complied ... Maritime Law only says, "Master and his crew".
05 ... Never be shy to use your authority, and if you are afraid, then step down from rank.
06 ... Following must never be short or delayed or denied ... remittances, sign off, aircon, food, water ... Just keep these 5 minimum things right, you would have very few complaints from crew.
07 ... All stores are ship stores ... Just follow this and there shall be no interdepartmental problems.
08 ... Never trust people ashore and definitely not on phone or WhatsApp. Email back up for telecom is most important. I know of people who got fired after following a superintendent's phone call and that too without an email backup.
09 ... The worst ones ashore are the pilots ... You even pay for their mistakes.
10 ... Unless the shipboard team is a cohesive one, the ship is always in peril ... make sure this never misses out.
11 ... Never fail to take advices from anyone, however the choice of following those is your own prerogative ... Sometimes even a deck cadet or a TME can give very fantastic ideas.
12 ... it's very lonely on the top, especially in problems ... ship is of others until everything is running fine, but when a serious problems arises, the ship always returns back to her master .
13 ... break stress of staff with regular parties ... a happy staff is the cause of a good running ship.
14 ... CE and master are best friends ... When this happens, all unnecessary problems stay at bay.
15 ... Never go ashore with an anchor intact in the bows.
16 ... Never kiss another with an anchor intact in your bows.
17 ... Never accept blame for damaging anything because you have no training for damaging ship or machinery. Tell those bastards to train you how to damage a ship, prior blaming you.
18 ... People sitting ashore are incapable of running your ship ... So don't expect much from them if a serious problem happens. In a real problem,They will all be looking at you like penguins look at the sky for answers.
19 ... Medivac is free for you ... Just remember this and never shy away in calling a MRCC if needed to medivac a sick crew. With this a very precious life can be saved.
20 ... don't try to be a bloody hero ... Never force ice, never force weather and never force crew.
21 ... 100 good jobs have no value, after just 1 bad one ...
22 ... Sailors never shy away from work, until they are fingered badly.
23 ... Once in a while and if you can afford ... Have the deck cadet in engine room during major maintenance so he knows all his life, that life is not easy there ... And have the TME on bridge in critical navigation, so he also knows that Life is pretty tough there. This will help them when they rise to master and ce and they would have more understanding of the problems of the other department.
24 ... If you have to go to heaven, then you have to die ... there is no other way to go to heaven ... Thus if you have a tough sea life, better you are placed professionally when you become master and ce. So accept problems as launch pads for a future glorious career, because no ship is a cake walk.
25 ... Never shy away in asking if in doubt, nobody is disrespected for this reason.
26 ... Every navigation operation is different, there are no fixed rules of ship handling as you work in a very dynamic environment. Only thing that is constant in nature, is her eternal change, which makes the navigation environment a very dynamic one.
27 ... There is no harm in saying "I am sorry" ... Humans who do not make mistakes, would only be God's.
28 ... Knowing your scope of authority is as important as acknowledging your limitation of authority.
29. Ship is the safest lifeboat, keep her safe always because she is the best hope.
30. Don't bother about what shore people think about you because you don't need their votes ... You are a professional, be such.
31. Ships are like beautiful ladies, Just keep her neat and tidy prior arrival port.
32. Fools walk into storms, wise sailors always keep at least 200 nautical miles off.
33 . Capt, CE, C.off, e.off, Bosun, cook, fitter have no departments, they are of the ship.
34 ... That Capt who does not take care of machinery, is not a real Capt... That CE who does not take care of deck, is not a real ce. Keep such nincumpoops in check.
35. An excellent sailor, is always arrogant and with a lot of professional pride. This is an absolute fact about sea.
36. Sailors never complain until the water reaches their nose height, so every complaint is an important one.
37. Not knowing the law is no excuse. No job is complete without completion of paperwork.
38. . I lost two course mates to sea ... Both because of stress ... one died during navigation ... another died in engine room workshop. Plus my own OOW collapsed on bridge once (He called me in emergency at night, and by the time I reached in about 2-3 minutes that it took to rush to the bridge, the OOW was already collapsed near the radar ... it took some time to revive him) ... So I always told everyone so they can beat stresses of the job ... If it is beyond your control, pass the stress to those who are paid to handle it, let them also do some bloody job.
39 ... 90% inspections are passed in Capt office itself, provided the inspector does not find anything wrong from the gangway till capt office. Keep this area perfect in each inspection, everything else will fall in place provided capt can handle him well ... If you cannot convince an inspector, divert him or confuse him.
By Cool Merchant Mariners